Whether you end up sean-nós dancing in a traditional Irish pub or throwing shapes at an underground club, a night out in Dublin can go many different ways. But whatever your preference, we reckon one of the best nights of your life is in store – and it’ll inevitably involve cheap, cheap drinks, making friends with chatty locals and impeccable live music at every turn.
The recession hit nightlife in Dublin hard, and led to many a venue closure. But thankfully, things have picked up recently, with a slew of new openings catering to all manner of musical tastes. This city has a large population of young people, so it booms every night of the week. Not to mention the innumerable tourists who come to drink the Irish way – that is, occupying the pub until the wee hours, singing songs and supping endless pints. So without further a-brew, here’s where to head on your next next night out in Dublin – these are the best pubs, bars and clubs the city has to offer.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Dublin
Best nightlife in Dublin
Hozier, Christy Moore, Glen Hansard, Mundy – they all began their careers at Whelan’s, Dublin’s premier live music venue. This Wexford Street institution draws a mix of old-school music-heads and hip yopros who come for the jubilant atmosphere and stellar, indie-centric programme. Head to the back room, where two DJs are usually on hand, for the real craic. There’s a free silent disco on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Tucked at the back of a top-notch sushi restaurant, Tengu is one of the hottest clubs in Dublin right now. Spread across two rooms, this edgy spot prides itself on having one of the best soundsystems in the capital. Genres are a good mix – so whether you’re more into R’n’B, disco or techno, there’s a night for you here. Open Fridays and Saturday from 10pm until late.
The award-winning Workman’s is another go-to for comedy, karaoke and live music in central Dublin. This quirky Georgian townhouse club has a casual feel, boasting multiple dance floors and a huge beer garden with its very own Wowburger. The drinks offers are decent, too. What more could you really want?
The recently revamped Café En Seine must be the city’s most impressive cocktail bar. With its range of elegant art nouveau rooms spread across three floors, this classy venue is a popular choice among couples and large parties alike. Its pièce de résistance? The outdoor street garden designed to resemble a Parisian shopping street. A decent soundtrack and first-rate service round out the thoroughly glam experience.
From the outside, the Bar With No Name looks enigmatic as its moniker suggests – only a street sign with a wooden snail on it hints at its existence. Head up the stairs, however, and you’ll find a speakeasy with multiple seating areas fringed with red velour curtains, and out the back, a circus tent-style beer garden that’s always brimming. Nearby, you’ll also find nightlife hot spots including Hogans, Fade Street Social, Idlewild and The Drury Buildings – making this the perfect area for a mini-pub crawl.
You couldn’t get more Irish than Smithfield’s The Cobblestone. Traditional live music, an old-school pub layout, Guinness aplenty: this quaint boozer has been going for decades, and a pit stop here really does feel like travelling back in time. On any given night, you may hear bluegrass, folk, country or traditional sean-nós, and will inevitably be kept on your feet with some céilí as the night wears on.
Sports bar, pub and club McGowans brings the tunes with DJs playing largely ’90s and ’00s hits to a laser-illuminated crowd. This is the place to head if you’re ever on the Northside and want to avoid to the city-centre drags. Looking to lock lips while you’re here? You could do worse than McGowans’ legendary singles night on the first Friday of the month.
If you’re music-mad, this is the place for you. The intimate Button Factory must be one of Temple Bar’s coolest hangouts, with live gigs spanning everything from up-and-coming indie band showcases to EDM DJ nights. The multi-level design ensures a sizeable crowd can get in every night, while friendly staff, brilliant acoustics and savage drinks combos seal the deal.
On most nights, the entirety of Dame Lane throngs with tipplers dropping in and out of The Stag’s Head, Mulligan and Haines, 4 Dame Lane and The Mercantile. But our pick of the bunch is The Dame Tavern. Snug and always packed, this vibrant pub serves one of Dublin’s very best pints of black.
By day, you can sink into luxuriant armchairs, play board games and socialise with furry Dublin locals at this dog-friendly LGBTQ+ bar. By night, the vibe shifts up a gear. If you’re lucky, much-loved drag queen Pixie Woo might to the decks and storm through a set of classic gay anthems. Expect disco, funk and reggae on other nights. There’s an extensive gin and whiskey menu, plus your usual craft beers and ales.
You could easily walk straight past this cocktail bar. But that mystique is very much part of Peruke & Periwig’s charm. Inside, the strangely beautiful décor – starring a mirrored bar and some 18th-century wigs – will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The cocktails are unconventional, the music chill: if you’re looking for a classy night and good vibes, head straight in.
This is Ireland’s most famous club and a rite of passage for anyone passing through Dublin. Pulling in a diverse mix of police, nurses, culchies (Irish from outside Dublin) and students, Coppers is the place to come if you fancy a night’s grooving to cheesy ’90s bangers, obligatory pint in hand. A huge venue with multiple bars and dance floors, it stays open later than most – making it a popular final stop on a night out.
After more solid recommendations?
The Irish have a rep for partying hard – and knocking back the pints pretty much wherever they can. True or not, when you’re in Dublin, a night on the tiles is a must. There’s something for every type of clubber here: student nights, international parties, Insta-friendly venues, LGBTQ+ pubs and bars, and, of course, our very own institution, Coppers.